“I am touched by Trinitians’ passion for rugby”: Eric Miller

Tuesday, 27 January 2015 01:11 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Shamseer Jaleel Former Ireland, British and Irish ‘Lion’ player Eric Miller will be Trinity College Kandy Rugby Consultant and Head Coach of its Under 20 rugby outfit this year. Former Irish International Rugby Union Player has won 48 caps for the ‘Green’ jersey, the youngest British and Irish Lions team member that played against South Africa in 1997. He has represented Ireland in two Rugby World Cups (1999 and 2003) and also has played five times for the Barbarians. As a professional Rugby Union Player, Eric Miller has represented Leinster, Ulster and Leicester Tigers in the British Rugby league. He has played in over 50 Heineken Cup games. Eric also has played cricket for his school at Wesley College in Dublin.                         Eric started his international career when he represented the Under 21 team in 1996. Between 1997 and 2005 he represented the country at top level making 48 test appearances and scoring well over 30 points, including 6 tries for his country. He made his international debut against Italy in 1997. He went onto play for Ireland at both the 1999 and 2003 Rugby World Cup tournaments. His final appearance for Ireland was against Japan in 2005. Speaking to the Daily FT, Eric said: “Amidst the grand welcome that myself and my family were afforded upon our arrival to Sri Lanka, it became clearer to me over the first few weeks how much Rugby is esteemed at Trinity College and around the city of Kandy. This was a pleasant surprise, of course I have heard of the ‘Bradby’ and what high regard schools Rugby in Sri Lanka which is followed around widely. Even old boys from overseas visit the country to witness these two matches in Colombo and Kandy each year.”     Eric added: “Rugby here is not dissimilar to Ireland where the aura of schools game year on year surpasses that of the club game. I mean no disrespect to the club game in either country but everyone seems so immersed in old school rivalries with the old boys clubs well established, feeding off the perennial league campaign and ‘Bradby’ contests. In Ireland the schools game is very strong but no less professional than the set up that I have been lucky to find at the school. The players’ application to training and respect for coaching staff, Teachers and their elders in general is a big plus point. However, while this disciplined, subservient attitude goes a long way towards team building and learning tasks, it has presented some challenges. “I have found that culturally whilst these young guys have been taught to follow orders, which is no bad thing, it has been an interesting challenge for them to think more for themselves when it comes to on field decision making. The modern game exemplified by quick decision making in the moment in tandem with good execution often makes the difference at the highest level. I am endeavouring towards a situation where the players take on as much responsibility as possible for their decisions which I hope will give them the confidence to execute things better under pressure. This has taken time implement but to the players credit their keen attitude and young age has helped them enjoy being more autonomous.     “I am excited about the year ahead. They have won four Bradbys in a row and are looking to increase their trophy count in 2015. I have been impressed so far by their hunger to buy into the process rather than focus too much on the prizes on offer. I have very much appreciated all the support that I have been given by my coaching staff which gives us every opportunity for all to achieve their goals. Rugby is never a game that owes you anything based on preparation alone and sport is funny and sometimes cruel in that way, so I will hopefully take the team into the season with confidence and a freedom to play what they see in front of them, so we will see if a few results fall our way.”